Ask a Shopkeeper: Nina and Tom

08/28/2007 at 09:27 AM ET

We spoke to Nina Gatewood, designer and co-owner of Nina and Tom. Her partner in business and life is her husband Tom. Together, they design simple and fun tees for kids. We love their sensibility and clever motifs.

Nina_and_tomHow long have you been in business?
Three years this month.

How did you decide on your brand’s name?
Tom came up with the name. He thought it sounded nice and since we do the designing and printing along with everything else, why not?

Where are your products sold?
We have an active website. We sell to boutiques. Whole Foods Grocery Stores. At our local Davis Farmer’s Market and even all the way in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Why did you decide to start your business?
It happened by accident. We had made t-shirts for friends and our new baby. People saw them liked them and wanted to buy them.

What is your design inspiration?
We share a pretty clean aesthetic. Everyday pleasures, food, the outdoors, the excitement of learning something new and having favorite things. And we are not too comfortable with edgy stuff that is out there for kids and the super cutsie stuff as well.

Tell us about your ideal customer?
Someone who values well crafted, made in the USA, environmentally conscious, fun, clever clothing for babies, kids and adults.

What are your most popular products?
Love and Peace for all ages, Color Theory and I’m This Many.

What products are you most excited about?
Our conversion to 100% Organic Cotton in bright colors and the new designs coming out soon.

Do any celebs have your products that you have been able to confirm?
Mariska Hargitay, Dayna Devon, Chantal Kreviazuk
and Melissa Joan Hart.

How does being a parent inform your design sensibilities? Do you think being a parent makes you a better designer of children’s products?
We watch and listen to our young child and his friends to see what they are interested in. What makes them happy. Yes, but we’ve both always had the sense of what kid’s like.

What skills did you need to learn for your business?
Everything, from computer programs to screen-printing. Not to mention the business side and we’re still learning

Do you have a "day job"?
Nina stays home with our three year old and sixteen-year-old sons and Tom assists in surgery.

Where do you see the brand in five years? Ten years?
We would like to see our brand be a brand that is well known for being sustainable, classic, fun, and positive. All with quality maintained.

Tell us about the design process.
Most of the designs are inspired by being with our three year old while on our walks. Nina then works out the ideas by drawing them out first, then takes them to the computer to get them ready for production. She then hands over the designs, along with color details to Tom. Tom then does the technical job of mixing inks and screen printing the shirts.

Do you work with any philanthropic organizations? Tell us about them.
We are active politically. We have made donations to organizations like AIDS Life Cycle, here in California. We donate our time, money and products to various charities locally, nationally and globally.

How long does production take?
Ultimately, we love what we are doing. We love it when kids come up to us and say things like, "This is the shirt you made, it’s my favorite shirt." We also think we are doing something right because it’s not just the kids, moms and grandmas who love our products, but the dads and grandpas too. When they tell their wife’s to go buy more Nina and Tom shirts for the kids, that says something.

Exclusively for CBB readers: Enter the code cbb for 20% off everything (excluding Onesie-A-Month).

Do you own any shirts from Nina and Tom? If so, which one and why do YOU love them?

If you have any further suggestions for shops you would like to see featured please email 

FILED UNDER: Deals & Gear

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 0 comments